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How to Say No: Moral Maturity

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How to Say No: Moral Maturity

Published 1951

How to say no to unwanted smoking, drinking and petting, and still keep your friends.

Run time 10:30
Producer Coronet Instructional Films
Sponsor N/A
Audio/Visual Sd, B&W


This film deals with such teen-age behavior problems as smoking, drinking, and love-making and discusses the ways of saying "no" in such situations and still maintaining status and keeping friends.
The film opens in front of a curtain on a stage. A spotlight shines on Bill, who serves as discussion leader and introduces the subject of how to say "no" and still keep your friends. Addressing the audience, Bill raises the curtain and reveals the members of the discussion panel -- Marty, Lucy, Nora, and Howie. They are seated informally around the stage, which is arranged and set as a living room. Their discussion constitutes the principal part of the film.
Marty begins the discussion by relating his experiences with the fellows after a game or practice. Usually they stop at a snack bar but occasionally one of the fellows suggests that they stop at a tavern. Marty, who doesn't want to drink -- nor does he want to be a "drip," explains how difficult it is for him to say "no" and make it stick and yet belong to the group. Members of the panel offer such suggestions as reminding the group he is in training and doesn't drink or simply ordering something else. Marty thinks the latter plan is a good idea; the film shows him having a sandwich and French fries and still being accepted by the group.
Nora introduces her problem: She doesn't want to smoke and yet her friends insist that she break down and smoke at their pajama parties. Several suggestions are made to her; she thinks the one of bringing up the newest gossip is a good one. She is shown effectively turning down the invitation to have a cigarette by following her "no" with an enthusiastic recital of the newest gossip.
Lucy doesn't think distractions would work when a boy insists on petting. The group discusses this problem and seems to agree that each situation is different and that each requires a lot of ingenuity. They agree that the first job is to know yourself and your own standards.
The conclusion summarizes with flashbacks illustrating such principles as these: try to avoid difficult situations, distract attention by changing the subject, know when and why you are going to say "no" and be firm, and say "no" but be friendly, not preachy.

(Educational Screen, Feb. 1952)


Ken Smith sez: "How can you say no and still keep your friends?" A discussion group of earnest, clean-cut teens talk directly to the camera as they (and we) flash back to situations where they had to say no: Drinking beer after football practice, smoking cigarettes at a pajama party, and the ever-popular "petting." Above average.

Danger Lurks Safety


Reviewer: JayKay49 - favoritefavoritefavorite - February 13, 2013
Subject: What Do I Think?

My advice (having seen this film) is always carry Hostess Cupcakes in your pocket or purse and when you need to say "No" just pull it out and say "Man I'm hungry!... want one?"

Frankly, unless they start dating guys that have done 10 years of hard time, those frowsy girls needn't worry.
Reviewer: Pleonic - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 5, 2012
Subject: To Thine Own Self Be True
A bunch of 1950's kids sit around and discuss how to avoid the dangers of drinking, smoking, and pitching some woo! Eventually it boils down to "This above all: to thine own self be true."

I'd have tried petting that girl too!
Reviewer: ERD - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 18, 2006
Subject: Good advice- then and now
For 1951, this was an excellent film that still holds up today. Good clear advice. Excellent script, acting, and directing.
Reviewer: autoguy - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 18, 2006
Subject: Just Say NO!
Through with that guy? Doesn't want to pick up dames does he? Who's this Marty the big goon? Unsociable is he? Nora is told to "be a sport" at a pajama party with her girlfriends. But unfortunately, it was only about having a smoke, darn. Ok, change the subject to GOSSIP, that's it! (Don't show this film after the Centron "The Gossip", 1955, ok?) And what about those BOYS?! Their... their... HANDS you know! So, Lucy runs into that problem ALOT does she? There's No stopping them. She simply can't help getting into those situations. Ok then, Lucy has the excuse she wants, go for it baby! And she has a whole bag full of "tricks" too. Nora invites attention and finds it hard to stop does she? I'll bet she does! *wink-nudge* Then, the BOY should say no? Nonsense! He wants to collect on that insurance policy Lucy mentions. So there, the air is cleared, and we know when and how to say no, and then go ahead and do it all anyway!
Reviewer: Spuzz - favoritefavoritefavorite - November 2, 2003
Subject: Behind the curtain..
A pretty standard Coronet social guidance film. Made unusual for the whole stageyness of it. Heck, even the first actor introduces the movie behind a curtain and it opens to a living room. Different teenagers have different problems and wondered how to say No in each situation. All of which are pretty standard, to Coronet watchers. Marty is interesting though, with his too puffy lips..
Reviewer: dynayellow - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 16, 2003
Subject: Date Insurance
Squeaky-clean but still refershingly honest short about how to say "no" and stand up to peer pressure without alienating your friends. A group of teens holds a "rap session" outlining various situations they got into, and how they could have stuck to their morality, but not made the others angry.

Some pretty blunt, I imagine, talk for the time about Petting, and when it is and isn't appropriate to be intimate with someone. Know Yourself. Good advice.
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